Sudan: American Senator Urges Action On Sudan Genocide

Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia
21 February 2024

The American senator calls for international response intensify as crisis escalates in Darfur, Sudan.

In a resolute stance against the escalating crisis in Sudan, Senator Jim Risch, the ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has issued a clarion call for action, urging the international community to confront the unfolding genocide in Darfur. With a firm resolve reminiscent of his past diplomatic endeavours, Mr Risch has emerged as a pivotal figure in the push for decisive intervention to address the atrocities ravaging the region.

"Twenty years ago, the U.S. Congress was the first body to recognize the genocide in Darfur committed by the government of Sudan and its proxy Janjaweed militia. Tragically, history repeats itself and now we must do the same," Mr Risch declared in a tweet on Tuesday, 13 February, underscoring the urgent need for concerted efforts to halt the bloodshed.

Mr Risch's impassioned plea comes amid mounting concerns over the actions of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militia in Darfur, where non-Arab ethnic communities are facing systematic persecution and violence.

As the most senior senator on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr Risch's words carry considerable weight, signaling bipartisan consensus on the need for swift and decisive action to address the crisis.

In a joint resolution introduced with Senator Ben Cardin, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Tim Scott and Cory Booker, Mr Risch has called for the recognition of the atrocities committed by the RSF as acts of genocide. The resolution underscores the gravity of the situation in Sudan and emphasizes the imperative for international intervention to protect civilian lives and uphold human rights.

Mr Risch's leadership on the issue has garnered bipartisan support, with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle rallying behind the call for action. His steadfast commitment to addressing the crisis in Sudan reflects a deep sense of moral responsibility and a dedication to advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives in the region.

In addition to Mr Risch's efforts, Susan Stigant, Director of Africa Programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), has provided invaluable insights into the current state of affairs in Sudan. Ms Stigant's expertise has shed light on the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the urgent need for international assistance to alleviate the suffering of millions of Sudanese civilians.

"Reports of active fighting and the immense human suffering caused by the conflict underscore the urgency of the situation in Sudan," Ms Stigant remarked, highlighting the critical need for greater international support for Sudanese-led humanitarian efforts. As the crisis continues to escalate, Ms Stigant's expertise serves as a guiding beacon for policymakers and humanitarian organisations seeking to address the root causes of the conflict.

Despite the challenges posed by external actors and the complexities of the conflict, Mr Risch remains undeterred in his pursuit of justice and accountability for the victims of genocide in Sudan. His unwavering leadership on the issue underscores the United States' commitment to upholding human rights and promoting peace and stability in the region.

As the international community grapples with the unfolding crisis in Sudan, Mr Risch's clarion call for action serves as a rallying cry for justice and compassion in the face of adversity. With his steadfast leadership and unwavering resolve, Mr Risch continues to champion the cause of peace and human dignity, reaffirming America's role as a beacon of hope and solidarity in times of crisis.

The U.S. Department of State has also weighed in on the situation in Sudan, expressing grave concerns over the atrocities being committed by the RSF and its allied militias. A State Department spokesperson emphasised the urgent need for the belligerents to respect international humanitarian law and human rights, calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and unhindered humanitarian access to civilians in need.

"The choices of the SAF and the RSF have led to atrocities, a collapsing healthcare system, grave food insecurity, and the de facto partition of the Sudanese state," a State Department spokesperson told PREMIUM TIMES, underscoring the severity of the crisis and the urgent need for international action.

Considering the escalating violence and humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the international community must redouble its efforts to address the root causes of the conflict and provide vital humanitarian assistance to those in need.

With Mr Risch's leadership and bipartisan support, there is hope that the United States and its allies will take decisive action to end the genocide in Darfur and bring about a lasting peace in Sudan.

Patrick Youssef, the regional director for Africa at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has travelled to Sudan, including last November, where he engaged with representatives of the government and the Rapid Support Forces. Deeply concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, Mr Youssef has sounded the alarm, urging an immediate cessation of brutal, targeted attacks on civilians. His agency, the ICRC, has made impassioned pleas for an end to the violence, emphasizing the urgent need to protect civilians caught in the crossfire. "Brutal, targeted attacks on civilians must stop," the ICRC statement previously reiterated, echoing the sentiments of many humanitarian organisations striving to alleviate the suffering of the Sudanese people. "Weapons bring power. But that power imposes a responsibility on the warring parties - indeed, an obligation - to respect and protect the civilian population, as required by international humanitarian law," says the ICRC statement.

In the meantime, shedding light on critical aspects of the crisis in Sudan that have not received adequate attention in mainstream media reporting, is necessary. While much of the coverage has focused on the immediate humanitarian impact of the conflict and the efforts of key stakeholders to address it, there remain significant gaps in our understanding of the broader regional dynamics, the implications for peace and security, and the challenges of humanitarian access. These key outstanding aspects merit further exploration and should be brought to the forefront of the global conversation on Sudan to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the crisis and inform effective responses moving forward.

Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on U.S. foreign policy, and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe

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